All start with an “i” but what do these words mean to “you” ?
In my blog entry “Advice to Samsung” I described what the courts found to be blatant imitation of Apple’s iPhone. Some have said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” but this doesn’t apply to intellectual property.
Minus the legal infractions, Samsung’s imitation approach can be quite appropriate in many circumstances. For example, if your company builds fences then you probably don’t worry about violating someone’s patents. It makes a lot of sense to continue business as you’ve been doing it for decades, applying imitations when you find a better material or building method.
Albert Einstein described innovation quite well, stating that “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.” In short, innovation is a radical departure from traditional thinking. If the innovator is able to comply with the patenting criteria, a patent application can be filed in hopes of legally restricting others from benefiting from an innovation.
My own definition of inspire is “influencing others for the greater good.” In the media the innovators and inventors are typically the people being discussed in a manner that should inspire others. Examples include Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Some inspiring people aren’t really inventors at all and are inspiring for their uniqueness or power. Examples here include Warren Buffet and the President of the United States. Personally inspiring people are those friends and co-workers who you believe are “living life right.”
In summary, is very important to understand the differences in the definitions so that you know where you should be operating — both on a personal and corporate level.
Picture credit: Ferdinand Schmutzer (Wikimedia)
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